Posted: Thursday, April 04, 2002

Discussion on Alaska Pork Project highlights democracy in action

Thanks to members of the public, the Peninsula Clarion and panelists Dick Metteer and David Thomas for their participation and involvement in learning more and discussing the proposed Alaska Pork Project.

Citizens were given an opportunity to learn about both sides of the issue and ask challenging questions of both panelists. Democracy works when citizens have information to make informed decisions.

Thanks to all for participating.

Sammy Crawford

League of Women Voters, Kenai

Special Olympics athletes appreciate mushers, support

Central Peninsula Special Olympics athletes Samantha would like to thank everyone for donating to Central Peninsula Special Olympics. The athletes raised almost a thousand dollars for the summer games.

We had wonderful sled dog rides provided by local mushers. The weather was real Alaska, too -- snow, wind and cold.

Thank you, mushers, for making this day possible: Jason Mackey, Lance Mackey, Rob Sparks, James Wheeler, Morgan Lyons and Connie Grudinsky.

Central Peninsula Special Olympics athletes: Joe and Samantha Romig, Rob Wilusz, Patrick O'Gwinn, Amber Colby and John McIntosh

Annual businessperson's sled dog race success for area charities

The annual Peninsula Sled Dog and Racing Association's businessmen's and women's race was held March 21 at the Soldotna Airport. Thirteen racers, approximately 30 supporters and spectators, 20 dog mushers and over 50 dogs were all rooting for their favorite novice dog musher.

The Peninsula Sled Dog and Racing Association would like to thank the following businesses and organizations for sponsoring riders who raced for local charities.

The race sponsors and with their "dog mushers" were Kim Moore, Soldotna Animal Hospital; Eileen Sverdrup, Eileen Sverdrup, MD; Amy Warfle, Kaladi Brothers; Debbie Gilliland, Laidlaw Transportation; Robert Scott, AmeriCorp.; Marta Brenner, Tesoro; Holly Babcock, Kenai River Center; Mavica McLane, Soldotna Medical Clinic; Terry Thompson, Kenai Peninsula College; Jessica Franzmann, Dr. Bauder's office; Mike Bills, Tustumena 200; Karin Sonnen, Kenai Peninsula USDA; and Dr. Fraser, Soldotna Medical Clinic.

The final race results were Soldotna Animal Hospital won first place, with team owned by Kurt and Neil Strausbaugh of Sterling. This team was driven by Kim Moore for the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank. Second place went to Dr. Eileen Sverdrup, racing for herself and donating her winnings to the Kenai Boys and Girls Club. Her team was provided by Mitch Michaud and Jane Fuerstenau of Soldotna. Finishing third was Amy Warfle, who was sponsored by Kaladi Brothers. She was also racing for the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank, and drove a team provided by Patty and Rob Harris of Kasilof.

A special thanks also goes out to all the dog mushers that provided teams for the event and especially their dogs who made it all possible.

Mitch Michaud

Peninsula Sled Dog and Racing Association

Community enjoys Soldotna's St. Patrick's Day celebration

The 11th Annual Soldotna St. Patrick's Day Celebration was truly a successful event enjoyed by many in the community.

Special thanks to everyone who entered the parade, to those who lined the streets to watch as the procession went by, to Bailey's Furniture for the use of their lot for the parade staging area and Mike Sweeney for organizing the parade and line-up.

We also would not have been able to do the parade without the help and support of our local police force -- thank you!

Many local merchants filled out the Lucky Leprechaun Dollars, which were handed out to the spectators and deserve a big thank you for participating in the event.

Many people attended the corned beef and cabbage dinner, prepared by the Sterling Senior Center. We wish to extend our sincerest appreciation to all of the businesses that provided merchandise and services for this function, as well as to those who bought the items throughout the night. Thank you also needs to go the Skyview Mock Trial Team and Future Problem Solving Students for serving all of the dinners and helping with the cleanup.

The grand finale fireworks display was better than ever and enjoyed by the residents of our community. Special thanks to the following fireworks sponsors: Wells Fargo and Phillips Alaska Inc. We would like to extend our appreciation to Griz Smith (Fire Art by Griz) for the spectacular show as well as Central Emergency Services for all of its help.

We appreciate all of the coverage provided by the local media. Norm Blakeley (Blakeley's Auction Co.) also deserves a huge thank you as he donated his auctioning professionalism, which contributed to the success of our auction. And, last but not least, kudos to the decorating committee, Sammie Cole, Barbara Elson, Betty Obendorf and the chamber staff -- another wonderful event!

On behalf of the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce, our thanks to everyone who helped to make this year's celebration a memorable occasion.

Justine Polzin

Executive director Greater Soldotna Chamber of Commerce

Landscaping workshop in Soldotna provides ideas to many businesses

I would like to express thanks to the Soldotna Enhancement Group and the beneficiaries who made the recent landscaping workshop at Soldotna City Hall a success. This workshop was made possible through the generous gift of a Soldotna resident.

Thank you to the city of Soldotna for supporting this project and making City Hall facilities and staff available to the Soldotna Enhancement Group. Special thanks to Anna Johnson, administrative assistant to Planning and Zoning, who spent many hours making arrangements with Land Design North, ensuring that the workshop met the expectations of the Soldotna Enhancement Group and that the best value for money spent was received. Anna took the time to personally recruit businesses to attend the workshop and made sure that pictures of their properties were made available at the workshop.

Thanks also to the following businesses who took advantage of the workshop by participating and came away with a plan and ideas for enhancing their properties that could benefit all: The Cornerstone Market, Hutchings Chevrolet, city of Soldotna DOT property, Aspen Hotel, Timber Wolf, Children Medical Clinic, Blazy Mall, Dairy Queen, C&M Muffler, McDonald's, Godfather's Pizza, Log Gifts, Jersey Subs, Petro Express, Napa Auto Parts, Midas Muffler and Four Seasons Fence.

Linda Story

Community Coordinator, VISTA

Kenai Peninsula Economic Development District

Students get to sample Alaska's diverse cultures during break

Soldotna After the Bell Boys and Girls Clubs celebrated spring break at Soldotna Middle School by sampling the uniqueness of Alaska's diverse cultures. Adults and students worked together throughout the week creating a homestead, a Russian Village, Old Town Kenai and "Our Alaska" as it exists today. Students were immersed in a variety of hands-on, participatory activities along with recreation and good eating over the course of the week. None of these events could have taken place without the assistance and cooperation of the individuals and groups listed below. A loud cheer of appreciation goes out to: Amber Glenzel, Amanda and David from the Kenaitze staff for the songs, language lessons, survival information, coloring books and more; the Native Youth Olympics for their incredible demonstration; the Kenaitze Dance Group for performing the beautiful dances for us on Friday; Marge Mullen for an incredibly informative presentation on homesteading; Nichole Johnston and Gary Titus from the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters for showing and telling us about the Andrew Berg Cabin as well as some very interesting pieces of history about our pioneers' tough beginnings; Olga Vaissenburg for sharing a variety of Russian culture with a slide show, toy making, a Pirogi cooking lesson and serving Russian tea at our finale on Friday; the Kenai Visitor's and Information Center for taking us on a tour; Dorothy Gray for arranging a visit in the Russian Orthodox Church; Jim Stogsdill's generous donation of the use of the Soldotna Elk's Club gym for our Friday Finale; and the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Kenai Peninsula, the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District and Soldotna Community Schools for their collaborative participation in the 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant that makes After the Bell possible.

We also offer a gigantic thank you from the bottom of our hearts to Linda Overturf who is the family and consumer science teacher at Soldotna Middle School. For over two years she has generously given After the Bell the use of her classroom five days a week after school, each no-school day, all school breaks and summer.

It can truly be said that the amount of people sharing time, energy, rooms and community spirit make many things possible for After the Bell. Thank you one and all for helping us serve our youth in this capacity.

Jeanne Waldren, program director and After the Bell Boys and Girls Club -- Soldotna staff

Food bank says thanks a ton for CANstruction 2002 projects

Creativity and kindness marked the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank's CANstruction Project 2002 event. It was exciting to see the sculptures, all made of canned and packaged food, take shape as participants put their imaginations and energies to work to help feed the hungry.

This year's CANstruction to CANcel Hunger Project, held at the Peninsula Center Mall, had four participants and resulted in over 1,000 pounds of donated food. Many thanks to all the thoughtful folks who made this event possible!

ACS/Enstar employees donated time, food and money to build their CANstruction sculpture, a beautiful American flag. The Challenger Learning Center's events coordinator, Kathy Jewell, and her crew CANstructed an impressive space rocket and Kenai Peninsula College teamed with AmeriCorps to make a wonderful donation of food.

The imaginative sculptures were "judged" by local community leaders, Jim Brenton, president of the Kenai Peninsula Builders Association; George Ford and Bruce Passe, United Way board members; Terry Smith, Sadler's Home Furnishings manager; and Mavis Blazy-Lancaster, Peninsula Clarion columnist.

ACS/Enstar's 4-by-8-foot American flag sculpture, made of Campbell's Soup and Pepsi Cola cans was very popular. It won the Ton-O-Tin Award for the heaviest sculpture, the CAN-Do Award for the most cans used and the Judge's Choice Award.

The AlasCAN Theme Award went to the Challenger Learning Center's space rocket that was CANstructed of containers of Tang (the official space drink).

The Kenai Peninsula College/AmeriCorps team was recognized with the Kids Can Too Award.

A Ton of Thanks goes to the participants who built the sculptures, the people who donated the food, our judges, Jason Murry and the helpful folks at the Peninsula Center Mall who enthusiastically provided the area for this project, Central Emergency Services for the use of the delineators and "Caution" tape used to set up a safe CANstruction Zone and to Duane Olson and Scott Ensley who loaded the donated food to take to the Food Bank where it was made available to hunger-relief agencies for their feeding programs.

This fun-filled event is an example of how businesses and individuals can make a difference in the lives of our neighbors in need. Thanks to such a supportive community CANstruction 2002 was a very successful event and we hope to have even more fun with it in the coming years!

Peggy Moore

Executive director Kenai Peninsula Food Bank

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